Bioavailability of Bioactive Molecules from Olive Leaf Extracts and its Functional Value

Phytother Res. 2016 Jul;30(7):1172-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5625. Epub 2016 May 3.


Olive leaves are an important low-cost source of bioactive compounds. The present study aimed to examine the effect of in vitro digestibility of an olive leaf aqueous extract so as to prove the availability of its phenolic compounds as well as its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer activity after a simulated digestion process. The total phenolic content was significantly higher in the pure lyophilized extract. Phenolic compounds, however, decreased by 60% and 90% in simulated gastric fluid (SGF) and simulated intestinal fluid (SIF), respectively. Regarding antioxidant activity, it was reduced by 10% and 50% after gastric and intestinal digestion, respectively; despite this fact, high antioxidant capacity was found in both SGF and SIF. Moreover, the olive leaf extract showed an unusual combined antimicrobial action at low concentration, which suggested their great potential as nutraceuticals, particularly as a source of phenolic compounds. Finally, olive leaf extracts produced a general dose-dependent cytotoxic effect against U937 cells. To sum up, these findings suggest that the olive leaf aqueous extract maintains its beneficial properties after a simulated digestion process, and therefore its regular consumption could be helpful in the management and the prevention of oxidative stress-related chronic disease, bacterial infection, or even cancer. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: antibacterial activity; anticancer activity; antifungal activity; olive leaf; phenolic compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Biological Availability
  • Humans
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • U937 Cells


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts